Recently, I was asked to pet sit my friend’s four rabbits. Everything was going great until nighttime came. I was so worried about the rabbits, I checked on them every hour. I was shocked to see that they never seemed to sleep. That made me wonder: do rabbits sleep at night? After lots of research and talking to a few veterinarians, I have the answer.
Do rabbits sleep at night? Rabbits do sleep at night, but not always and not for long. They are crepuscular, which means they are active early in the morning and late in the evening. Rabbits will sleep around midday and around midnight as long as everything is calm and they are relaxed.
That made me feel a little better. But that answer left me with more questions, too. With a little more research, I found some neat rabbit sleep facts. Check them out!
When Do Rabbits Sleep?
The simple answer is: anytime they can. Since rabbits are most active during half-light times of day, such as early morning and late evening, they have a strange sleeping schedule compared to humans and most other mammals. This often means that rabbits will sleep around noon and midnight with naps whenever they can.
But it’s not that simple.
Rabbits are naturally cautious animals. They are constantly on high alert for danger because they are prey for many other kinds of animals. In the wild, that alertness keeps them alive. As pets, however, this behavior can frustrate worried pet parents.
After speaking with a couple veterinarians, I discovered that rabbits will only sleep when they feel safe and relaxed. When I was pet sitting my friend’s bunnies, they were probably nervous about the new environment. The veterinarians said that the rabbits were likely taking quick naps when I wasn’t looking.
I’m happy to report that by the end of the first week, my rabbit houseguests were snoozing peacefully when I’d check on them. They’d grown used to my house and the normal noises, finally feeling safe enough to sleep for longer periods of time, usually around one in the afternoon.
What Happens When You Interrupt A Sleeping Rabbit?
If you wake a sleeping rabbit, be ready for a cranky critter. If you interrupt a sleeping rabbit, he may bite you or behave poorly. Can you blame him though? Imagine if someone woke you up in the middle of your nap. You’d be pretty mad, too.
Try to leave your sleeping bunnies alone. Not only is it cruel to interrupt an animal’s sleeping pattern, but frequent interruptions can actually cause health issues. Just as humans need enough sleep to stay healthy, rabbits also need enough sleep.
If your rabbit doesn’t get enough sleep it may cause him to stop eating, drinking, or socializing. It can also cause a bunny’s stress level to rise, and stressed bunnies don’t live as long as relaxed ones.
Try to limit your play time and social time with your pet bunny during the early morning and early evening. Those are your rabbit’s natural waking hours.
How Many Hours Do Rabbits Sleep?
You may have heard that humans need about eight hours of sleep each night, but did you know that rabbits can be perfectly healthy and happy on much less? It’s hard to measure exactly how much sleep rabbits get because of their natural alertness and strange sleep patterns, but the best estimate is about six hours each day.
A very relaxed, happy, and comfortable rabbit can get up to eight hours of sleep a day. It’s not likely that wild rabbits will find that kind of luxury. They probably get much less than that. Pet bunnies, however, have been known to snooze for up to ten hours!
You shouldn’t feel bad if your rabbit doesn’t seem to get a lot of sleep around you. It isn’t that your pet isn’t comfortable with you or happy in your home, it’s just in her nature to be alert and aware at all times.
It’s also worth mentioning that some rabbits just don’t sleep as much as others, just like people.
Do Rabbits Snore?
Yes, rabbits can snore. I was surprised by this fact, and even more shocked to learn that rabbits can snore while awake.
While a lot of people on rabbit forums have mentioned that their pet bunnies snore and are perfectly healthy, it is important to note that some snoring in rabbits can be a sign of trouble.
According to Petmd.com, if a rabbit suddenly begins snoring while asleep or awake, it could be from a blockage in his airway. Another possible medical issue for snoring rabbits could be that the tissues in their noses and nasal passages are weak or flaccid. It may also be from fluid building up—maybe from an upper respiratory infection, for example.
If you notice your rabbit suddenly making snoring noises, it’s a good idea to take her to the vet to be checked out. You can never be too careful.
However, if your bunny has always been a noisy breather and your vet has already given the green light of good health, don’t worry. Some bunnies just snore.
Do Rabbits Sleep During The Day?
Rabbits can be active any time of day or night. It really depends on their individual personalities and their sleep requirements. That means they can also sleep during the day if that’s the kind of rabbit they are.
Wild rabbits will get sleep whenever they can, but they tend to sleep very lightly, just in case of danger. Pet rabbits are more likely to sleep for longer periods during the day since they tend to feel more at ease.
Younger bunnies will sleep more frequently during the day, while older rabbits may sleep less. If your rabbit’s daytime sleep habits change suddenly, you may want to schedule a vet visit.
Do Rabbits Sleep With Closed Or Open Eyes?
Another cool fact about rabbits is that they can sleep with their eyes open. This is another intriguing survival mechanism. It might also explain why I thought my friend’s rabbits never slept when they were visiting.
In the wild, sleeping with their eyes open helps them stay safe. They’ll be able to see predators coming and get to safety.
Even as pampered pets, rabbits may sleep with their eyes open. They often do this when they’re not feeling very comfortable at home. This could be due to stress, illness, new noises in the house, or a new cage.
Give your bunny plenty of comfortable bedding, a quiet space, and time to relax and he’ll eventually start sleeping with his eyes closed again. Then again, some rabbits develop this habit and it never goes away. Don’t worry; your rabbit I still getting plenty of sleep with his eyes open.
Do Rabbits Like To Sleep With Lights On ?
In the wild, rabbits are used to sleeping in the middle of the day. However, that doesn’t mean they like to sleep with bright lights overheard; it’s just how they have to survive.
Pet rabbits have it a bit easier. Since humans provide everything a pet rabbit needs to be healthy and happy, they may never have to sleep in bright light. And that’s a good thing. Too much light can be stressful to pet rabbits.
A lot of bunny owners choose to leave a dim light in their rabbit’s area at night. This is not harmful, as long as the light is not too bright.
How Bright Should A Rabbit’s Light Be At Night?
Rabbits have very sensitive eyes. Whether it’s bedtime or play time, it’s best to avoid bright lights, like midday in the summer.
If you’d like to leave a light on for your rabbit at night, choose a dim light. Night lights designed for children’s bedrooms are a good choice. These lights mimic the level of light that a rabbit might find in the early morning and late evening.
What Are The Dangers Of Excessive Light?
Many rabbits kept in environments with too much light never show outward, obvious symptoms of illness. However, studies have shown that extra light can cause rabbits to gain weight, have fertility issues, and may even cause retinal damage.
What Are The Best Sleeping Beds For Rabbits?
In the wild, rabbits sleep in cozy burrows and dens. For this reason, many rabbits would appreciate an enclosed, soft, dark bed. My friend’s rabbits loved sleeping in a paper bag on its side with a blanket inside.
Some bunnies prefer to sleep in loose bedding without a box or enclosed base. These rabbits often appreciate several fleece blankets in their favorite spot, or an open-top bed, like a small dog bed.
You may have to experiment with several kinds of beds before you find the perfect one for your pet rabbit. Sometimes, they even change their mind after a while. You may find that after a year or so your rabbit prefers a totally different kind of bed than they did when they were younger.
Some bunnies also like to have options. Try offering several different kinds at once and watch what your rabbits does.
Where Do Rabbits Sleep The Best ?
There are a lot of options available today to help your rabbit get a good, restful sleep. Every rabbit is different though, so here are a few of the best sleeping furnitures, accessories, and locations that should please any bunny.
- Soft Fabric Beds: Look for beds with raised sides and plush, soft centers.
- Towels/Blankets/Rugs: These are easy to toss around in your rabbit’s favorite spots and simple to wash.
- Wooden Beds: Sturdy beds made of wood are attractive in any room and give your bunny a safe place to hunker down.
- Baskets: A lighter alternative to wooden beds, baskets are easy to relocate and to fill with your rabbit’s favorite bedding.
- Grass Mats/Beds: These natural and safe beds double as entertainment because rabbits just love to chew on them and tear them up—as long as you don’t mind a little mess.
- Hammocks: Some rabbits love the snug security of a gently swinging hammock. Some hammocks come with a side table on top for you to use.
- Pee Pads: For a quick bed in any location, pee pads can be tossed in a corner or behind the couch for a simple bed that can also protect your floor from accidents.
- Alternatives: Many rabbits love sleeping in laundry baskets, on your old shirt, your jacket, pillows, and even in beds designed for other pets—such as dog and cat beds.
Best Sleeping Locations For Rabbits
Most rabbits prefer to sleep in their enclosures. However, if your rabbit is used to having free access to your whole house, you should leave various beds and bedding options in quiet, dark locations for your pet.
Some favorites include the laundry room floor, behind the couch, near or under your bed, and in a closet. My friend even has a small rabbit bed in his office, right by his feet so his bunnies can stay close.
Do Rabbits Get Tired?
Just like humans, rabbits can get tired. Depending on your pet’s regular daily schedule, he may be sleepy around noon, in the middle of the night, or any time in between.
Pet rabbits often get tired after an exciting play session with you. They can get sleepy after exploring the house on their own, too. They may also get tired after a big meal or a visitor in the house.
Remember, rabbits are masters at grabbing quick naps when you’re not looking. Be sure to provide plenty of comfortable sleeping areas for your bunny.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Tired Rabbit?
Cautious little rabbits can be hard to read, but these subtle signs will help you recognize when your rabbit needs a nap.
- A tired rabbit will be less active than usual
- Tired rabbits may lay down on their tummies or sides
- A rabbit’s ears may begin to droop or lay flat across her back when she’s sleepy
- Some rabbits may become cranky and anti-social when they’re tired
- Many rabbits stop twitching their noses as much when they begin to feel drowsy
Can Rabbits Sleep In Your Bed?
Yes! And they love to do it, too. Pet rabbits enjoy spending quality time with their humans and will often snuggle up close for bedtime. Many rabbit owners report that their rabbits sleep longer and deeper while in bed with their humans.
Sleeping with your rabbits can be fun and a great way to bond. Yet, there are some things you should consider before bringing your bunny to bed with you.
What Are The Dangers Of Sleeping With A Rabbit?
He may injure you. Be sure to trim your rabbit’s nails before sleeping with him. He may scratch you accidentally or damage your bedding. Some rabbits startle awake and may bite.
He may keep you up. Some rabbits just don’t sleep well at night. If yours refuses to fall asleep in your bed, you may end up losing sleep yourself.
She may cause health problems for you. No matter how clean you think your rabbit is, there is always the chance that she has bacteria on her fur. Some people even develop allergies to their pet rabbits after many years.
Your bed might become your rabbit’s toilet. Unless your pet rabbit has been trained to use a litter box or other specific location for doing its business, she may choose to relieve herself in your bed. That’s messy and a health risk.
Are Rabbits Noisy At Night?
Some people mistakenly believe that rabbits are nocturnal because their pets make so much noise at night. They’re actually most active in mid-light conditions, and do sleep at night. Yet, since they can get by with only six hours of sleep each day, that leaves plenty of time during the day and the night to be active.
While rabbits may sleep at night, they can also be active and very noisy. Some rabbit owners have noticed that their pets will begin tipping over their litter pans, tossing their food around, and purposefully spilling their water in the middle of the night.
More often than not, nighttime noise is due to a bored rabbit trying to get your attention. This is especially true if you’ve recently switched schedules or haven’t been able to play with your bunny much during the day.
Sometimes though, when a rabbit is noisy at night, it means something is wrong. Be sure to check the temperature of the room, how clean her enclosure is, and the lighting.
How do you know if a rabbit is sleeping? Rabbits can sleep with their eyes open, so it can be tough to tell if one is sleeping. A good way to tell is by checking her ears. If they are laying flat down her back and relaxed, she is probably asleep. You can also watch the pattern of her breath. She will breathe a little slower and deeper when she’s asleep.
Some rabbits are obvious about naptime. They may flop over onto their sides or flatten out with their bellies on the ground and their back legs straight out behind them. This is rarely seen in wild rabbits, but relaxed and comfortable pet rabbits sometimes sleep this way.
How do I make my rabbit sleep at night? You can’t make a rabbit sleep, but you can make some changes to your pet rabbit’s routine to encourage sleep at specific times. Use light to help train your rabbit into a new pattern—brighter lights during the day and very low lights at night. Play with your bunny a few hours before bedtime to help make him sleepy. Remove toys and noisy objects from your rabbit’s cage before bed. Have a special sleeping enclosure with softer, less noisy materials.
If none of this works and your rabbit is still keeping you awake at night, try moving her cage to another location.
Why do rabbits thump at night? Rabbits are not vocal animals, so they need other ways to communicate with one another. Thumping is one way rabbits can tell each other that danger is coming. They may thump one or both back feet. If your pet rabbit is thumping, it is telling you that it does not feel safe.
Sometimes, pet bunnies will perceive danger when there isn’t any. Try to figure out what has your rabbit spooked and remove it from his sight. It may be as simple as a lit cigarette or a hat hanging on the back of a chair.